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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

272       HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

not merely to science, but to morality and religion. The begin-
nings of wisdom for every child, indeed, must come through the
objects around him, since " nothing comes into the understanding
in a natural way but through the senses." But mere seeing and
hearing is not enough: even the animals see and hear, and they
remain dull and unintelligent. The child must study nature in
the light of human knowledge, and get his understanding " en-
franchised " and his heart enlightened. The whole world is full
of meaning, both intellectual and moral, and it is the task of the
teacher to help the child to discover it for himself. In this con-
nection the need for a study of language becomes apparent.
The transition from sense-experience to understanding implies
the use of words. " We note the child goes on with ease and
delight when the understanding and the tongue are drawn along
parallel lines, one not a jot before another." And obviously,
as Woodward strongly insists, the words must be those of the
child's native language : " The mother tongue is the foundation
of all." The method of language study is similar in principle
to that of nature study: it must be based directly on personal
experience. " More than a year since, the child could call unto
his mother, the maid, and the man, John and Joan both. He hath
set his mother a stool or some such thing. He hath picked an
apple and a nut, cherries also out of her lap and pocket. AH
this he hath done. Then he told her what part of speech these
are, how proper some, how common other some, what gender
he, what she, and that the stool was neither of both. Tell him of
sharp and sweet, he will not be satisfied till he have the thing, be
it grapes, vinegar, apples, honey, sugar, etc. Now he knows his
adjective, no man better. He relishes it on his tongue's end."
So he goes on through grammar and syntax; and the conclusion
reached is that if grammar can enter in this fashion at " the gate
of the senses, all sciences will follow by the same light and at the
same doors."*

The special attention bestowed on the schools during the
Commonwealth makes evident the profound faith in education
which lay behind the Puritan discussion of the subject. Not
only were the existing schools carefully conserved in the midst
of violent ecclesiastical changes, but a considerable number of
new schools were established in Wales and the north of England
* Foster Watson, English Grammar Sch&t* M 1660, pp. 291*292.